US 2869099 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 13, 1959 N s. c. ROBINSON Y MEANS FOR INTERLOOKING ELECTRICAL CONNECTOR cAsINGs Filed Oct. S. 1955 nited States Patent f- MEANS FR INTERLOCKING ELECTRICAL CGNNECTOR CASINGS Application October 5, 1955, Serial No. 538,696 Z Claims. (Cl. 339-91) The present invention relates generally to electrical connectors, and more particularly to electrical connector assemblies of the type that include separable self-contained male and female units.
Specifically, the present invention is directed to new and improved means for releasably interlocking the shells or casings of the male and female units of electrical connector assemblies.
Primarily, the interlocking means of the present invention are designed for incorporation in electrical connectors and the like used in electronic equipment, it being understood however that the invention is not limited to the eld of electronics. ln the electrical lield referred to however, a major problem has heretofore existed with respect to connectors. Because most of such connectors are rather minute in size, it has been difficult to incorporate in them or associate with them, satisfactory means for quick-connect and quick-disconnect operations. The most common expedients have been to use snap rings, internally threaded rings, or spring-actuatable coupling rings for the purpose. These devices are generally difficult to operate, lose their effectiveness quickly, and thus fail their intended purpose.
The principal object of the present invention is to overcome such disadvantages by providing means, formed integrally wtih the casings of a pair of units to be mated, whereby they may be releasably interlocked in quick and simple fashion.
It is another object of this invention to provide electricalconnectoi casing interlocking means that will not wear and deteriorate in consequence of repeated use, or in consequence of being subjected to normal vibrations.
Briefly, the invention attains its objectives by the provision of a series of circularly spaced linger segments formed in the mating end portion of one casing, these linger segments being inherently resilient and adapted to automatically engage the peripheral surface of the mating end portion of the other casing when the two are united. Preferably but not necessarily, the finger segments are formed in the end portion of the casing enclosing the plug unit, the internal diameter of the end portion of said casing being such as to have a sliding t on the external peripheral surface of the mating end portion of the casing enclosing the receptacle unit. The free extremity of each finger segment is bent angularly, so that when the plug and receptacle units are separated, these linger extremities extend inwardly into the circular space defined by the internal diameter of the plug casing aforesaid.
In one embodiment of the invention, when the plug and receptacle units are mated, said linger extremities are engaged inalternate ones of `a circular series of recesses provided in the peripheral surface of the adjacent end portion of the receptacle casing, whereby to provide what will hereinafter be referred to as a positive lock. In another embodiment, when the plug and recep tacle units are mated, these finger extremities are engaged in an annular V-groove provided in the peripheral sur- Patented Jan. 13, 1959 ICC face of the adjacent end portion of the receptacle casing, whereby to provide what will hereinafter be referred to as a snap lock. In a third embodiment, when the plug and receptacle units are mated, said finger extremities frictionally engage the knurled peripheral surface of the adjacent end portion of the receptacle casing, whereby to provide what will hereinafter be referred to as a slip lock.
The invention is illustrated on a sheet of drawings that accompanies this specification. In the interest of clarity, all of the views are drawn to an enlarged scale.
In the course of the more comprehensive description of the invention to follow with reference to these drawings, attention will be directed to certain structural dedetails, and to features `and advantages not specifically set forth above.
In said drawings:
Figure l is an elevational Vview of a typical electrical connector assembly embodying casings constructed in accordance with the concepts of the present invention;
Figure 2 is a similar view illustrating the plug and receptacle units of the connector assembly in separated disposition relatively to one another;
Figure 3 is an enlarged central sectional view taken longitudinally through the assembly on the line 3-3 of Figure l;
Figure 4 is an enlarged right end elevational view of the plug casing per se;
Figure 5 is a longitudinal sectional view through said casing, taken on the line 5--5 of Figure 4;
Figure 6 is a transverse sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of Figure 5;
Figure 7 is a fragmentary top plan view of said plug casing;
Figure 8 is an enlarged end elevational view of the preferred receptacle casing constructed in accordance with the concepts of the present invention;
Figure 9 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the receptacle casing shown in Figure 8;
Figure l0 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional View taken on the line 10-10 of Figure 8; l
Figure 11 is a transverse sectional view taken on the line 11-11 of Figure l0;
Figure l2 is a longitudinal sectional view demonstrating the plug casing in interlocked disposition with the receptacle casing portrayed in Figures 8 through 1l;
Figure 13 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure l0, presenting another form of a receptacle casing embodying the concepts `of the present invention, said Figure 13 form appearing also in Figures l through 3;
Figure 14 is a view similar to Figure 12, demonstrating the plug casing approaching interlocked disposition with the receptacle casing shown in Figure 13;
Figure l5 is a fragmentary elevational View of another form of receptacle casing; `and Figure 16 is a view similar to Figure 12, demonstrating the plug `casing in locked disposition with the Figure 15 receptacle casing.
In Figures 1 through 3 of the drawings, a typical electrical connector assembly is generally designated at CA. It includes a plug unit P, and a receptacle unit R. As suggested by means of broken lines in Figures 1 and 2, the unit R may be mounted on a panel or the like.
The present invention is not concerned with the construction details of the plug and receptacle units, but is primarily directed to the casings thereof. That is to say, the inside-the-casing parts of the units that appear in Figure 3 may be varied, as is understood. In other words, Figure 3 exemplarily demonstrates the invention embodied in an electrical connector assembly of conventional type. It is further noted, that the receptacle unit R (also known as a jack), merely typifes a number of other units that may be served by the present invention, for example so called straight adapter units, bulkhead adapter units, T units, multiple connector units, and so on. Any of these units may be enclosed in a suitable casing terminating at one end in a mating portion formed in accordance with the concepts of the present invention.
Numeral 18 designates in its entirety the casing adapted to contain the elements which, together with said casing, comprise the exemplary plug unit P herein contemplated. With particular reference to Figures 4 through 7, it should be apparent that said casing consists ofl a generally cylindrical hollow body including (as viewed in the drawings), a left end portion designated 2i), a right end portion designated 24, and an intermediate portion designated 26. Said left end portion 20 of the casing may be formed as shown, or otherwise if desired. The intermediate portion 26 is preferably provided with knurling on its external periphery as illustrated.
The right or mating end portion 24 of the plug casing 18 is fashioned in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. This end portion 24 terminates in a circular flange 28, and the face of said flange is beveled or chamfered, as indicated at 30.
In circularly spaced relation, preferably one hundred and twenty degrees apart, a series of U-shaped openings 32 is formed in the periphery of portion 24, whereby to provide three finger segments 34. The free extremity 36 of each finger segment is bent angularly as shown, so that whereas normally the main body portion of each finger lies in planar disposition with the remainder of the end portion 24, the said extremities 36 project radially inwardly into the circular space defined by the internal diameter of said end portion.
The casing adapted to contain the elements which, together with said casing comprise the exemplary receptacle unit R, is designated in its entirety by the numeral 38. The casing 38 consists of a generally cylindrical hollow body including, (as viewed in the drawings), a right end portion 40, a left end portion 42, and an intermediate portion designated 44. Said right end portion 4t) may be formed as shown, or otherwise if desired. The intermediate portion 44 may be of polygonal configuration, as illustrated.
The left or mating end portion 42 of the receptacle casing 38 is also fashioned in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. This end portion terminates in a rounded or beveled marginal edge, as indicated at 46, and the peripheral diameter thereof is such as to slidably fit the internal diameter surfaces of the plug casing mating end portion 24.
With attention directed now particularly to Figures 8 through 11, it will be seen that in accordance with the positive lock concept of the invention, the mating end portion 42 of the casing 38 has formed therein a series of circularly spaced depressions or recesses designated 48. The recesses 48 are preferably spaced sixty degrees apart, and the depth and width of each increases gradually from right to left as shown, whereby to define a circular series of radial shoulders that are designated 50.
As seen to best advantage in Figure 11, the shouldered end portion 50 of each recess 48 is of a size to readily accommodate entry thereinto of one of the finger extremities 36 when, as will be explained, the casings 18 and 38 are mated. In consequence of the circularly spaced milled recesses 48, a series of similarly spaced lands 52` is produced, the narrowest portion of each land 52 being between a pair of the recess shoulders 58 as shown.
With attention directed particularly to Figure 13, it will be seen that in accordance with the snap lock concept of the invention, the mating end. portion 42 of casingy 38 has formed therein an annular V-groove 54. Incidentally as noted hereinbefore, the Figure 13 concept has been further illustrated in Figures 2 and 3. Preferably as should be clear from an inspection of Figure 3, the angularity of the V-grocve 54 corresponds to that of the finger extremities 36. It is to be understood however, that absolute angular correspondence is not critical.
With attention directed particularly to Figures l5 and 16, the slip lock concept of the invention is attained with a mating end portion 42 provided on its periphery with an annular band of knurling 56.
Although it is believed that the drawings adequately demonstrate the simple manner wherein the invention attains its objectives, a brief explanation will be given. lt will first be assumed that the receptacle casing 38 shown in Figures 8 through 11 is rigidly mounted as suggested in Figure 2. In order to effect the positive quick-connect interlock, the plug casing 18 would be held with the thumb and forefinger engaging the knurled portion 26, and pushed onto the end portion 42 of the casing 38. The initial mating movement would be facilitated in consequence of the beveled formations 30 and 46, as should be manifest. As the movement progressed, the beveled edge 46 of the receptacle casing 38 would first engage against the extremities 36 of the finger segments 34 (see Figure 14), and then flex said fingers outwardly until the shoulders 54D of recesses 48 passed beyond said extremities. Instantly thereupon, the inherent resiliency of the finger segments would automatically cause the extremities 36 thereof toV spring. into their normal dispositions, thus engaging against said shoulders 50, as demonstrated in Figure 12.
It is noted that the invention teaches the provision of two recesses 48 for each resilient finger segment 34. With this arrangement, considered from a mathematical standpoint, said finger segments would rarely fail to register with alternate recesses at the end of the mating movement. In the event the finger segments should happen to register with the lands 52, a slight rotary manipulation of casing 18 would effect the interlock, as should be clear.
From the foregoing, it should be evident. that a connection may be made in a fractionof a second. It should also be manifest that the connection is a positive one, and will remain effective irrespective of vibration and other factors to which the connection may be subjected in normal use.
Although it should thus be apparent that this arrangement provides a positive interlock, a quick-disconnecting operation merely requires a slight rotation of the casing 18 by means of the knurled portion 26 and a concurrent withdrawal of said casing, as is understood. The slight rotation referred to raises the finger extremities 36 out of the recesses 48 and onto the lands 52, thus permitting separation of the casings.
The Figures 2, 3, 13 and 14 concept of a snap lock is operable in similar fashion, except that quick-connect and quick-disconnect operations are effected without imparting any rotary motion to the casing 18, inasmuch as the V-groove 54 is annular.
The Figures l5 and 16 slip lock concept of the invention is operable in similar fashion. That is to say, the casing 18 is manually pushed onto the mating end 42 of the casingV 38 in order to effect a connection, and withdrawn therefrom to effect a quick-disconnect operation.
In contemplation of the preceding description augmented by an inspection of the drawings, it is believed that a comprehensive disclosure of the invention has been given. It is of course to be understood that the invention is not limited to the precise details of vconstruction illustrated and described, particularly with respect to the positive lock concept. That is to say, the number of finger segments 34 and recesses 48 may be increased l,should the circumferences of the mating end assenso portions of the casings warrant. Further, the configuration of said recesses may be modified, and so on.
Wherefore, the invention contemplates any and all modifications that may `fall within the scope of the claims hereunto appended.
What I claim is:
l. ln an electrical connector assembly of the type described including a plug unit adapted to be mated with a receptacle unit: a casing enclosing said plug unit and terminating at one end in a cylindrical mating portion; a casing enclosing said receptacle unit and terminating at one end in a cylindrical mating portion having a peripheral diameter slidably iitting the internal diameter surfaces of the cylindrical mating portion aforesaid of the plug casing; and means provided on the mating end portion of the plug casing in combination with means provided on the mating end portion of the receptacle casing for positively interlocking said casings in mated disposition, said means comprising: a series of circularly spaced resilient finger segments each defined by a U- shaped opening formed in the periphery of said mating portion of the plug casing, each Enger segment terminating at its free end in an angular-1y bent inwardly projecting extremity; a series of circularly spaced recesses formed in the periphery of said mating portion of the receptacle casing, the number of recesses being twice the number of linger segments aforesaid; a radial shoulder at one end of each recess formed by an increase in depth and width of the recess beginning at the opposite end thereof; and a series of circularly spaced lands produced by said recesses in the periphery of the mating portion of the lreceptacle casing; the narrowest portion of each land being located between apair of said shoulders.
2. in au electrical connector assembly of the type described including a plug unit adapted to be mated with a receptacle unit: the structure set forth in claim 1, wherein said mating portion of the receptacle casing terminates in a 'beveled marginal edge adapted to engage the inwardly projecting extremities of the finger segments and flex said segments outwardly until said shoulders pass beyond said extremities in the course of a mating operation.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS